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Wed July 9, 2014
CoastLine: Gang Violence — After All the Community Conversations, What Have We Learned?
Gang violence in our region: After all the community conversations, what have we learned? Are there new, best practices that we're implementing? What's already working that we might expand? How can we improve and refine our approach?
Gang violence – and the steady conversion of at-risk children into gang members is an issue that is on the rise across the country. Gun violence within Wilmington City limits has crept into neighborhoods that haven’t previously seen this kind of activity.
Senate Bill 594 is now making its way through the legislature. Entitled Omnibus Justice Amendments, the legislation would allow for tougher sentences for those carrying illegal firearms. Some law enforcement officials have hailed the proposal as an important tool on the enforcement end.
But, the enforcement piece is only one component of what community leaders say must be a multi-faceted solution.
It was near the end of 2013 that Wilmington City Manager Sterling Cheatham spear-headed a series of public forums to address the spike in gun-related violence that captured local headlines between October and December of last year. Compiling conclusions from those conversations, Cheatham called the key recommendations “some of the most reasonable thoughts from active community participants who have their ears to the ground and their hearts set on change.”